Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Catholics' memories

I have been disappointed by the response of Rhode Island Catholics to the federal court ruling against the prayer banner at Cranston West High School.

The right to practice any religion, or none, is given to us by the U.S. Constitution, which also prohibits government establishment of religion. It does not prohibit prayer in schools. It prohibits public school authorities from mandating or promoting prayer. The Bill of Rights does not assure majority rights. It protects rights that could easily be trampled by the majority, rights too important to be left to majority will.

Regardless of the majority's religion, no religion should be supported by the state. Exhibiting prayers in a public school, by school authorities with tax dollars, is state sponsorship of religion. It is not merely a "historic and traditional" practice. Is it fair for our public schools to post a prayer to "Our Heavenly Father," when some students worship a "goddess" of Wicca?

Catholics have short memories of being a religious minority in this and other countries, and of abuse perpetrated by Catholics in other times and places when we were a majority. We should not assume the U.S. will always be a majority Christian country, and we will look upon the First Amendment as our friend when a non-Christian faith wishes to post its prayers in our schools.

Anita Jones

Cranston

Obama and the clowns

Many years ago there was a movie titled "A Thousand Clowns." Watching the four Republican debate in South Carolina, I got the impression that four of those clowns have survived as pretenders to the American presidency.

Long on humor and bluster but short on ideas, this quartet of not- so-gentle men (Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul) has virtually no chance of unseating Barack Obama, whose re- election appears to be assured.

Vic Blank

Cumberland

Ship of fools?

In the Jan. 17 news article "Panic aboard cruise ship: 'We're going to die,' " a passenger assures his wife that modern cruise ships have too much technology to sink. Well, now we know. There is no such thing as "idiot-proof."

Mary Banks

East Greenwich

Hope and lottery

I really enjoyed Edward Achorn's Jan. 17 Commentary piece ("To boost economy, clean up mucky R.I. Senate") about cleaning up the Rhode Island Senate. …